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The Perfect Roommate

The weekend before college and not a free dorm room in sight. What would their son do?

college roommates sitting on the lawn
Credit: Photographer: Helder Almeida

Four days before the semester started, my son, Keith, decided he was going back to college. My husband, John, and I were thrilled. Keith had taken six months off after his sophomore year and we worried he’d never go back. His last year at Utah State had been less than stellar, but this time would be different. All he needs is a good roommate, I thought. Someone to watch out for him when our family can’t.

On such short notice, though, the university couldn’t guarantee him a dorm room, let alone a roommate. We packed the car—extra sheets, towels and winter clothes—and John drove Keith two hours to campus. They met the Resident Advisor at the dorm, ready to search for a room.

“This close to classes starting, things are kind of a mess,” the RA said, checking a list of rooms. “Let’s start on the first floor.” They took the elevator up and knocked on the door. “I already have a roommate,” the student said gruffly, and slammed the door.

The RA led them to another floor. “Sorry, I paid for the entire room,” the next student said. Floor by floor, they found nothing.

It was dark out when they finally returned to the lobby, exhausted. “Please God, let this turn out right,” John prayed, squeezing his eyes shut.

The RA checked his list, sighing. “Okay, there’s one more we can try.” They took the elevator to the third floor, walked down the narrow corridor to the last room on the left. The door was already open. A young man was sitting on one of the beds.

“Hey, I’m Keith,” my son said, “mind if I’m your roommate?”

“Sure,” the boy said. “My name’s Jordan. Put your stuff down. Make yourself at home.”

John came home that night and couldn’t stop talking about Jordan. He was polite, easygoing and had just returned from a mission trip.

“It was meant to be,” he said. 

A few days later, Keith called. “Mom, I have to tell you about Jordan,” he said.

Oh no, was everything okay? “What is it?” I asked.

“Jordan recognized our last name. His grandpa is Milton Wille!”

“Uncle Milton?” I said.

“That’s right,” Keith said. “We’re second cousins!”

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